Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Memories of RAM past

Pretending 1GB equals 1000 MB.

This is in the category of things that happen to everyone, but which should me remarked upon. Modern RAM capacities are amazing.

My first computer, a Mac Plus, purchased new from the University of North Dakota's bookstore, had .001 GB of RAM installed, which I upgraded first to .0025 GB, and then to its maximum .004 GB, at a cost, as I recall of about $150,000/GB.

I just purchased, at $15/GB (shipping included) a 2GB module for my MacBook, bringing it up to 3GB—and requiring me to dispose of an inconvenient 1GB module. So this means that my computer of today has 3000× the RAM of my 1988 computer, while the price per unit has dropped by 9,999/10,000ths of what it once was. Imagine if cars were improving at the same rate.

Here's a chart of the final RAM capacities for all my previous computers. I've long meant to make up this chart, so bear with the irrelevance to your life:

Drive capacities have gone through a similar transition, from the .0008 GB floppy in my Plus to the 200 GB drive in my MacBook.

The scary thing is the idea that over the next 20 years from now, RAM might increase in typical capacity by another 3000 times, and what will we be doing with it?

[Update: For whatever reason, my MacBook does not like the Transcend TS256MSQ64V6U module in combination with any other module I have. It works by itself, but put in either of the pre-existing 1GB modules (or even a 256MB module from a Mac Mini, and it would not boot. So, I'm stuck at a mere 2GB.]